SC State Falls to Hampton in MEAC Championship

By: AP

Reginald Johnson Jr. had 21 points and eight assists and top-seeded Hampton beat South Carolina State 81-69 on Saturday to win its second consecutive Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament.

Brian Darden scored 22 points, Jervon Pressley added 14 and Quinton Chievous 13 for the Pirates (20-10), who outscored the Bulldogs 14-2 over the final four minutes to win the MEAC championship for the sixth time.

Eric Eaves scored 25 to lead South Carolina State (19-14), which was seeking its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2003.

The Bulldogs won their only meeting with the Pirates during the regular season, 67-62, at Hampton on Jan. 25, but they had no answer late in the game when Johnson continually drove into the lane, at times scoring himself or feeding Pressley and Chievous underneath for easy baskets.

Chievous put the Pirates ahead to stay with 3:45 to play, and Johnson followed with a pair of free throws. Gabriel McCray got the Bulldogs’ only basket of the final four minutes with 2:32 to play, but Johnson scored on a drive, fed Pressley for a basket and the partisan crowd at Norfolk’s Scope Arena began celebrating.

The game was tied at 39 at halftime and close until the final stretch. The Bulldogs used a 14-5 run opening the second half to take a 53-44 lead, but Hampton answered immediately with a 15-4 burst to take a 57-55 lead.


S.C. State: First-year head coach Murray Garvin was voted the MEAC coach of the year.

Hampton: The Pirates have only two players from Virginia — Johnson and reserve Devon Oakley — on their roster.


Hampton will play in the NCAA Tournament.

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